Indians celebrate Mahashivratri in ancient Pakistani temple

 After a six-year gap, a group of pilgrims from India celebrated Monday Mahashivratri in a Hindu temple said to have been built more than 900 years ago.

Fifty Hindus from India marked the festival at Katasraj in Punjab province, reported the Daily Times.

The place is considered sacred due to a pond, which according to Hindu mythology was formed from Lord Shiva's tears.

It is also said that the Pandava brothers stayed in the temple region for four out of the 14 years they spent in exile.

The Indian delegation, which reached Lahore Saturday through the Wagah border, was met by Evacuee Trust Property Board Pakistan chairman Asif Hashmi. The delegation returns to India Thursday.

The report said the last delegation of Hindus visited Pakistan in 2006. In 2006-07, Pakistan decided to place idols of Hindu gods in the temples and restore them to their original state to attract Hindu visitors.

"Minorities present here in Pakistan are given full freedom to celebrate their holy events," Hindu Welfare Council Chairman Shiv Pratap Raj was quoted as saying.

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